Adobe InDesign missing plugins error [GUARANTEED FIX]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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Adobe InDesign missing plugins

A great number of users have reported having issues when trying to open a file created in Adobe InDesign or their PC. They get an error message saying: Can not open file. Adobe InDesign missing plugins. Please upgrade your plug-ins to their latest versions.

This error occurs when a file was created in one version of the software (ex. CS 5), and you are trying to open it in CS  5.5. Even though the versions seem similar, this can’t be further from the truth. The error message nuance depends on the specific plugins that were used in the creation of the file you’re trying to open.

Even though the variables for solving this problem are extremely high in number, in this article we will explore the best way to deal with this issue. Please follow the steps presented in this list in the order that they were written in (from least to most invasive), to avoid any unnecessary complications.

How to fix InDesign plugin error?

1. Update your Adobe InDesign version to the latest release

  1. Visit the official Adobe website and download the latest release of Adobe InDesign.Adobe indesign website screenshot - Adobe InDesign missing plugins
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process.
  3. See the steps mentioned in the next method and follow them closely.

2. Remove the plugin information from your file

  1. Open up InDesign -> click on File -> choose the Export option.InDesign File export option - Adobe InDesign missing plugins
  2. Export file to .idml format.Export file to idml format -Adobe InDesign missing plugins
  3. The .idml file format can be opened in any previous version of Adobe InDesign.
  4. After opening it in your InDesign (ex. CS3), then you can easily save the file as .inx, and export it to ‘.indd’  file format in order to remove all plugin info stored inside that file.
  5. After this process is completed, try to see if the error message appears again.

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3. Use InEXUtils for Adobe InDesign CC2017

  1. Download and install the InEXUtils plugin.inexutils plugin download - Adobe InDesign missing plugin
  2. After the installation of the plug-in is completed, open your file in InDesign.
  3. Next to the Help button at the top of your screen, you will notice a new menu called InEXUtils -> select it and choose the ‘Ignore missing plugins (All docs)’ option.inexutils plugin menu InDesign - InDesign missing plugins
  4. Save your InDesign files again.

In this article, we explored the best way to deal with the issue caused by missing plugins inside Adobe InDesign. Following these methods will surely solve your problem once and for all.

Please feel free to let us know if this guide helped you, by using the comment section found below.

FAQ: Learn more about Adobe InDesign plugins

  • Where are InDesign plugins stored?

Most of the features you see and use in InDesign are provided via plug-ins. They are stored in the Plug-Ins folder found inside the InDesign application folder.

  • How do I remove plugins from InDesign?

Use the Extension Manager to configure and remove plugins. Go to Help -> Manage Extensions to open it.

  • How do I update InDesign for Windows?

You can use the Adobe Application Manager to handle product updates. Make sure the Application Manager runs without issues.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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